Wizards of the Coast (and TSR before it) has come up with a whole lot of awesome DnD monsters over 50 years and five(ish) editions. Your average adventurer barely steps outside the tavern before something comes along and tries to devour, poison, mind control, dissolve or incinerate them.
Some DnD monsters, like the 5e Mimic, are so iconic that they’ve embedded themselves firmly in video game culture. Some, such as the Owlbear, Beholder, or Mindflayer, reliably turn up in edition after edition. But there are other monsters that fall through the cracks. Left out in between editions, these poor wretches are doomed to slip from the minds of DMs just as they’ve been excised from the pages of Monster Manuals, gradually fading out of existence.
Here are seven down-and-out monsters we think should see a glorious return – as well as a couple of homebrew creations that need to be officially ratified and shared with the world.
Like most DnD fans, I’m a big proponent of the Mimic, and the hilarious paranoia it inspires in players. Throw one mimic at a party and they’ll be poking every chest, door, and table in the rest of the dungeon, out of fear one will sprout fangs and a hideous pseudopod tongue.
It’s kind of BS that the Mimic can disguise itself as any object though. What I want to see is a cohort of more specific mimic-type creatures, which each fill their own niche. The Lurker Above does the job perfectly. It pretends to be a bit of ceiling; that’s it’s main raison d’etre.
This manta-like creature has mostly been replaced by the Cloaker in modern DnD, but while that monster is pretty awesome, it lacks the ceiling tile patterning and drop-bear behavior that gives the Lurker its real charm.
The Lovecraftian fish people Kuo-Toa are a pretty cool DnD race of monsterfolk. Ex-slaves of the Illithid, the Kuo-Toa get by in the hazardous underdark by creating their own gods to protect them.
The main feature of the Kuo-Toa is that the power of their belief is so strong that their nonsensical, ill-conceived gods come to life, and yet – criminally – none of these gods have stat blocks. In fact, Blibdoolpoolp is the only Kuo-Toa DnD god we know much about.
Blibdoolpoolp looks like a naked woman with the head and claws of a crayfish, which is probably super hot to your average piscine person. Let us fight the lobster woman!
A cross between those cow skulls you apparently see in deserts, and a jack-in-the-box, Gambados are very strange DnD monsters indeed. Their favorite activity is burying themselves up to the neck and waiting to leap out on their springy, single-footed bodies. It was later decided that these odd creatures find the skulls of other animals and wear them – like a more morbid hermit crab (or a Cubone).
Your party will probably learn pretty quickly to just keep away from the weird skulls dotting the landscape, but we can picture the Gambado being a hilarious surprise monster the first time around, and then a neat running joke as the party keeps spotting and easily evading them.
Appearing as a hairless chicken or dino bird with a tentacular mouth, half the reason the Digester makes this list is its absurd (and very cute) appearance. The other half is its behavior.
This bad-mannered bird-thing lacks the usual tooth and claws of ambush predators, so instead it sprays strong digestive acid in a high-powered stream on potential prey, before slurping them up using its mouth as a straw. Disgusting. We see the Digester filling the same conceptual niche the polar bear does – an adorable-looking monster that would absolutely mess you up.
While yes, DnD already has plenty of humanoid construct golems already, and a lot of brain monsters, there’s something particularly uncomfortable about the Brain Golem, a person-shaped creature made out of brains.
Created by illithids and their elder brains (of course), the Brain Golem seems like an excellent addition to the mindflayer roster. Just imagine what being punched by a brain must feel like.
That rare thing, a homebrew DnD monster that has stuck in the public consciousness, the False Hydra is a modern classic that absolutely deserves to be an official monster. Created by the blogger Arnold K at GoblinPunch, the False Hydra is terrifying for the way it affects its victims, and makes for an awesome narrative encounter in a DnD campaign.
The False Hydra is not invisible; it’s just unnoticeable. Its song makes it slip into your mind’s blind spot, and you essentially tune it out. Some part of you knows something is wrong. You’ll feel like you’re being watched, because you are, and after prolonged exposure, you might find you’ve written or scratched cryptic messages to yourself.
When someone gets eaten by the False Hydra, they’re also affected by its mind-altering power, and the people around them forget their existence.
Signs of a False Hydra include evidence of missing people who never existed. There’s an unfamiliar extra pair of shoes on your doormat, a dog bowl for a pet you don’t own. Your town hasn’t had a mayor for the last five years, and no one can remember why.
But the creature’s song ensures you won’t quite be able to put two and two together. Chilling stuff!
Ever since we covered ManMan Man, this homebrew DnD monster has haunted our dreams. Perhaps for us to be rid of it, it must be inflicted on others, like a Ringu curse or those chain emails that said someone would smooch you if you sent them to five other suckers. Pop it in the Monster Manual, Wizards, we beg you!
For more great DnD content, check out our complete guide to all the DnD classes. And if you’re setting up for your next game, as player or DM, these are the top DnD settings and the best DnD character creators.